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Department Seeks Disciplinary Action against Orlando-area Agents for Unlicensed Insurance Sales

6/24/2003

CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Financial Services is seeking to revoke or suspend the licenses of two Orlando-area insurance agents who allegedly marketed phony policies.

Michael Edward Rock, 33, of 1650 Natchez Trace Blvd., Orlando, is accused of marketing phony medical malpractice coverage to physicians and collecting $45,000 in premiums from at least one. Rock operated Embassy Bonding and Surety, Ltd. from an office at 85 W. Pine St., Suite 220. He was arrested in November on charges of grand theft, organized fraud and transacting insurance without a license.

William Raymond Orlando, 51, of 232 Apache St., Tavernier, is accused of selling phony health insurance coverage to several small businesses in the Keys. He sold policies for Local 16, an unlicensed entity that operated as United States Workers of America Local 16 National Health Fund, IIAWU National Health Fund, and Local 16 National Health Fund.

Since February 2001, the department has shut down 14 unlicensed entities and their various affiliates after receiving complaints about unpaid claims. Entities that are not licensed in Florida are not regulated, and therefore there are no assurances of their ability to pay claims.

As of last October 1, it is a third-degree felony for anyone to transact unlicensed insurance in Florida, and agents who sell unlicensed policies can be held responsible for unpaid claims.

The department has been conducting a statewide public education campaign for more than a year warning consumers to "Verify Before You Buy." Consumers may visit www.fldfs.com and click "Think You're Covered?" to read the complaints against these agents and others, find out if an insurance company is licensed in Florida, file a complaint or learn more about unlicensed insurance.

Consumers may also call the Department of Financial Services' toll-free consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2862 to verify that they are dealing with a licensed insurance company and a licensed agent. The helpline is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.